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* The Guitar of Doom

The Guitar of Doom by Gustavo, spanish text below

Today is an emotional day, as I reunited with an old friend that I had not seen for a long time. Back in Uruguay, I had a guitar made by a local Luthier, "Vargas", who made an amazing reproduction of a Gibson SG guitar, on steroids....the guitar had a Gibson PAF and Dimarzio XN pickup that made it sound like dynamite. I got it used in 1986 from my teacher, Alberto "el Cortina" Rojas. The guitar was already 2 or 3 years old. With it I learned, traveled, gigged continuously, taught and did my first steps through advanced tapping that brought me later to get a Stick and later a Warr Guitar.

Once we arrived in Montreal, the very dry weather (particularly during the winter) got the best out of the instrument, and the wood shrunk to make the guitar unplayable....I could feel the frets exposed below and above the neck....a disaster. I got a JS-100 Ibanez guitar that kept me going, and then when I got my Warr I sort of forgot about playing the guitar.

Two years ago, cleaning up a closet, I found the guitar again. When I opened the case I could really see how damaged and neglected the poor beast was....shrunk, battled, hit everywhere... yet when I tried it, it sang as it did years before, a good mix between tenderness and Godzilla-earthquake power. So I decided to repair it.... sort of bringing it back from this Purgatory sentence. For this I contacted Stephane Denis from Atelier de Luthierie SD here in Montreal. I told him that I was not in any hurry, that he could take his time. We had to repair the body, patch the ebony fretboard, fill several holes, change frets, change the bridge, change the tuners, strings, clean the electronics, etc.

Last week Stephane called me, after several "updates" we had throughout the wait. Steph told me that he had to get this done, as he was very ill and this would be the last instrument he delivered to his last customer, as he is sailing into uncharted waters and he was unsure he would be able to do this ever again.... very sad, very emotional situation. 

Today I went to his studio to pick up the guitar. It was painted in opaque black, and it is now a half breed between a vintage and futuristic axe. Below you will see a couple of pictures from this guitar "best years" rocking the @&$* out of the audience, and then now, a more mature look, at the hands of an older guy, but ready to continue rocking on. Because of this crazy trip, I am baptizing this guitar "The Guitar of Doom", and I wil be learning some chops again to make it sing as it did back in the 80's when I first got it.

With the protection of my brother Diego, back in 1988? during the Parque Rock-Do, with Post Coito


Tapping during a concert in "The Tinglado", somewhere close to 1990, long hair!!!!!

Trying some chops now, way less hair, but with the same or more energy than ever

 Reunited with an old, very dear friend

Thank you Beatriz for taking the photos back then, and the ones now!!!

La guitarra del fin del mundo

Hoy a sido un dia muy emocionante, me pude reunir con una vieja amiga que hacia tiempo que no veia. Cuando vivia en Uruguay, tenia una guitarra hecha por un Luthier de Montevideo ("Vargas") que pudo hacer una reproduccion de una Guibson SG, pero cargada de esteroides. La guitarra tenia como microfonos un Gibson PAF y un Dimarzio XN que la hacian sonar como una explosion de dinamita. La viola la compre de segunda mano en 1986 a mi profesor Alberto "El Cortina" Rojas. La guitarra ya tenia 2 o 3 años cuando me volvi su propietario. Con ella aprendi, viaje, toque en cuanto recital se me cruzo, enseñe a mil alumnos, y probe mis primeros pasos en el mundo del Tapping... tecnica que mas tarde me preparo para empezar con el Stick y la Warr Guitar

Cuando llegamos a Montreal (1994), el clima super seco (particularmente durante el invierno) se ocupo de darle al instrumento, ya bastante desgastado, su tiro de gracia. La madera se encogio, se torcio, y la guitarra quedo imposible de tocar. Se podian sentir los trastes de metal sobrepasar el mango/diapason... un desastre. Para poder continuar Beatriz me regalo una Ibanez JS-100, y luego me pase al Stick y a la Warr.... y me olvide de la guitarra. 

Dos años atras, limpiando un armario, encontre la guitarra otra vez.... cuando abri el estuche pude ver a que punto estaba maltratada, casi destruida. Encogida, golpeada, marcas por todos lados.... asi y todo la probe un poco, y la verdad es que seguia sondando como el primer dia, una perfecta mezcla entre dulzura y un terremoto producido por el paso de Godzilla... lo que me inspiro para mandarla a arreglar... como para sacarla de esa sentencia al Purgatorio no merecida donde habia encallado hacia años. Para ello me comunique con Stephane Denis, del Atelier de Lutherie SD, aqui en Montreal. Le dije que no estaba apurado, que se tomara el tiempo que necesitara. Tenia que reparar el cuerpo, alinear el mango de ebano, rellenar varios agujeros, cambiar los trastes, cambiar el puente, cambiar las clavijas, cuerdas, limpiar los circuitos, etc.

La semana pasada Stephane me llamo, para decirme que tenia que terminar este encargo rapido, dado que estaba muy enfermo y esta guitarra seria su ultimo trabajo, para entregar a su ultimo cliente en la vida.... me conto que estaba por partir por caminos que le eran desconocidos, y no sabia si iba a poder a sus actividades alguna vez... una gran tristeza, muchas emociones.

Hoy fui a buscar la guitarra, pintada ahora en negro opaco, y parece una mezcla entre su estilo original y una viola del futuro. Ahi arriba podran ver unas fotos de como era en sus mejores años, meta rock'n'roll y ahora con un look mas maduro, en las manos de un tipo bastante mas viejo, pero pronto para salir a tocar a mil en cualquier momento.

Por esta secuencia increible de eventos, se me ocurrio bautizar esta version del instrumento "Guitarra del fin del mundo", y me comprometo a aprender a tocarla otra vez, para que vuelva a vivir sus mejores momentos.


2012.07.19 Nuits d'Afrique

It was a beautiful night, and our first participation at the Festival Nuits d'Afrique. For the occasion we got Diego Vacca playing with us on several tunes, and Gustavo had the chance to bring his new bass, an FBass BNF6 to the stage to play a couple of songs with it (Nouveau Chemin and El Mejillon). The sound, ambiance, energy was great, we really enjoy playing at the Balattou. 

Below are a couple of videos and some photos. Thank you Beatriz for this material.

Video - Nouveau chemin

Video - Appalache



2012.06.22 Espace Alize

Last Friday we had our first gig at the Espace Alize. The large venue, very well located very close to downtown Montreal is of easy access to our public. Also, playing on a Friday it always help getting people out of their day to day lives to go see a show. Based on the comments, it seems the sound was very good, among the best presentations we have had. For us, up on the scene, we had multiple sound troubles that made the night extra challenging, but thanks to the great patience and dedication of the owners we pulled through. We had Diego with us that night, and it was great. There were a lot of known faces, including a big gang from Sidel and Rockwell, which made the night feel as we were having a private party among friends. 

Below a couple of videos of the night. Thank you Bea for the great videos. This was the first time we played "La Corrida" a sort of crazy screaming delirious song to end the show, inspired on the crowd screaming the trumpeter when he announces the coming of the bulls to the plaza. 

Video - The Sheltering Sky

Video - La Corrida



2012.06.10 Club Balattou

This was a special night at the Balattou, we had Diego Vacca with us for a performance on electronic drums, set to offer percussion sounds that went excellent with our sound. Diego played on our most "latin" tunes, such as Camaguey and El Mejillon, but he also added his magic on Bronx, The Sheltering Sky and Baghdad. Below are a couple of videos of that night, thank you Beatriz for the excellent quality of the material recorded. 
As always, it is great to play at the Balattou, the owners, sound man and people serving drinks are helpful, patient and on a good mood, pleasure to work at this place, consistently. 

Video - Camaguey

Video - Baghdad



2012.05.29 Club Balattou

Last Tuesday we played at the Balattou, and as always happens to us, some kind of atmospheric event had to happen when we play, this time was so much rain that parts of Montreal were left flooded. We and some heroic people made it to the Balattou and had a very good time. While Tuesdays are really tough to get people out to see an esoteric band as ours, specially under this weather, the few that made it were die-hard-let's-get-out individuals that really paid attention to what we had to offer, so we were very pleased having this intimate event with them. Below are three videos taken by Beatriz during the show, two are during the sound check which we figure were good enough to share. 

Video - Mother Funk

Video - Esparaban

Video - Bronx

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